Are queer and gay the same thing

Definition of sexual orientations: homosexuality, bisexuality, heterosexuality

Like biological sex characteristics, gender identity and gender role, sexual orientation is a component of sexual identity. Sexual orientation addresses a person's desire for the sex of a desired partner for emotional attachment, love, and sexuality. We know different sexual orientations: homosexuality, bisexuality and heterosexuality. However, the boundaries between these orientations are far less sharp than is usually assumed. It is important to emphasize that all sexual orientations are equally valuable.

People who are primarily attracted to people of the same sex are referred to as "homosexual". People who are psychologically, emotionally and erotically attracted to people of the same sex as well as people of the opposite sex are referred to as "bisexual". If someone feels attracted to people of the opposite sex, the term "heterosexual" is used.


Homosexuality is love between two men or two women. The term homosexuality was only introduced in the second half of the 19th century, although same-sex love has always existed. It was defamed as a sin, a crime, or a disease in ancient times. Today, science agrees that any sexual orientation is a healthy and natural variation.

Lesbians are women who are sexually and emotionally attracted more or exclusively to women. The term lesbian, formerly also lesbian, for homosexual women is common and is also used as a self-definition.

Gays are men who are sexually and emotionally more or only attracted to men. "Gay" used to be a dirty word for homosexual men until they self-confidently referred to themselves as "gay" in the 1970s. "Gay" or "gay" is a common self-designation today.


Bisexual are people who are emotionally and sexually attracted to both men and women. You enter into relationships and sexual contact with both sexes.

Today we know that all people have homosexual and heterosexual components in different degrees, i.e. the ability to fall in love with people of the same and the opposite sex. However, social constraints and taboos can lead to the repression of homosexual proportions.


Heterosexual people are mostly attracted to people of the opposite sex. There are significantly more heterosexual people than homosexual people, so heterosexuality is often seen as the norm. This heteronormativity can lead to non-perception and discrimination against same-sex lovers.

Smooth transitions

Since Alfred Kinsey's studies in the mid-20th century, we have known that the transition between sexual orientations is fluid. There are no "heterosexuals" on the one hand and "" homosexuals "" on the other. Rather, every person has the ability to fall in love with people of the other and with people of the same sex. These two skills are individually different in each person. In addition, they are not rigid, but can develop differently in different phases of life.

People of different sexual orientations existed at all times, in every society and in every class. Various scientific studies assume percentages between 5 and 15 percent of people who feel predominantly or exclusively homosexual, generally 10 percent are assumed. According to this, around 170,000 homosexual people live in Vienna, and more than three quarters of a million in Austria. However, only a fraction of these people are openly lesbian or gay. For many it is inconceivable that one can live happily as an openly lesbian or gay person. They hide their sexual orientation because they fear incomprehension, disadvantages and discrimination.

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City of Vienna | Vienna anti-discrimination agency for same-sex and transgender lifestyles
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